ProjectWESS – Water Earth System Science

Basic data

Water Earth System Science
5/19/2010 to 12/31/2015
Abstract / short description:
Environmental systems (soil – groundwater – surface water – sediments – atmosphere: the Earth system) are under pressure by i) climate change, ii) ongoing large scale inputs of anthropogenic compounds of uncertain long term behavior and iii) changes in land-use. The joint research center focuses on these changing environmental conditions and their impact on the water cycle as well as on the fate of pollutants in water, soil and the atmosphere.
The research program addresses anthropogenic and natural matter fluxes in the water cycle as a function of changes in the boundary conditions (climate, land use, water usage) at the catchment and river basin scale. It will allow projections of future scenarios for soil-groundwater systems covering time periods up to several centuries. It aims for:

- process-based understanding of the soil – water system as a whole,
- development of integrated models coupling atmosphere – soil – groundwater and surface water processes in order to come to
- long-term projections of future water quality and quantity including impact studies of extreme events and
- the assessment of sustainable prevention, mitigation and management strategies.

To tackle these interdisciplinary research issues, a new powerful and international visible research center for Water and Earth System Science (WESS) is established. Complementary resources in the field of soil and water related research at the Universities of Tübingen, Stuttgart and Hohenheim and at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, are pooled, competences at these institutes will be strengthened and synergies will be created.
The WESS research center is part of the national Water Science Alliance, which is coordinated by the UFZ. It will conduct basic and applied research and act as a national and international competence center. It will thus also offer advice and consulting services in the field of "water cycle and material/pollutant fluxes under changing environmental conditions".
This program outlines the underlying research concept as well as the institutional structures and required resources. It is the basis of the cooperation agreement between the Universities, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and the new research center. The time frame of the proposed activities is approx. 10 years. The program will also act as a framework for the attraction of additional national and international research funding as e.g. the national initiative for excellence (Excellenzcluster), ongoing and upcoming EU-Framework Programs and Collaborative Research Centers (SFBs).
Stofftransport (solute transport)
water research

Involved staff


Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen
Center for Applied Geoscience
Department of Geoscience, Faculty of Science
President’s Office, Central Administration (ZV)

Local organizational units

Institut für Geowissenschaften (IFG) †
Department of Geoscience
Faculty of Science

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